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Cops: Package Thieves Target Long Island Homes

Crooks Swipe Shipments From Porches In Old Bethpage, Farmingdale, Bethpage

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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Crooks are stealing packages from Long Island porches in broad daylight, police said.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, police are warning homeowners about a series of unsolved thefts in Old Bethpage, Farmingdale and Bethpage. Two burglars in a van have been following UPS, FedEx and U.S. Postal Service drivers, then snatching the shipments in front of homes, authorities said.

Police are on the lookout for a 2000 model year white Dodge or Chrysler minivan with out-of-state plates. In the thefts, the van’s passenger steals the boxes while a getaway driver waits behind the wheel, police said.

The Roth family in Bethpage had a package stolen from in front of their home while they were inside.

“They went across the street down here,” said Debra Roth. “They took a box there, he got back in the van, came down to my house right here and took my box and got in the van and took off.”

In Farmingdale, the thieves brazenly walked up a driveway, ripped open boxes, stole the contents and left behind only the packaging.

“I have surveillance video on my house already, just for these problems,” said Lois Iadarola, a neighbor of one of the victims.

Last holiday season, police credited home security cameras with providing evidence to catch package thieves.

UPS and FedEx said their supervisors are on alert, trailing drivers and looking for suspicious activity. The companies are also asking homeowners to require signatures for drop-offs, especially as the holidays approach. Drivers also taking precautions by leaving packages on back porches, under bushes or with neigbors.

“You know what to watch out for,” said UPS driver Ed Chiari. ” … It’s a tough economy. People, they’re nervous. People don’t have money for gifts. They don’t have money for anything. They’ll take whatever they can.”

Janice Amato, of Famingdale, said she felt bad for her neighbors who are victims.

“I hope they get their packages back,” she said. “It’s terrible.”

Added Wanda O’Malley of Bethpage: “Now I’m going to be on the lookout. I’ll watch.”

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